The latest Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class is nearing completion of its rigorous nine weeks of instruction. Their graduation exercise will take place Wednesday, April 26, at the Lexington Fire Training Center (1375 Old Frankfort Pike) beginning at approximately 6:00 p.m. Media is invited to attend the graduation exercise.
NOTE: This exercise simulates an actual tornado strike in an urban Lexington neighborhood. CERT members will perform actual victim extraction, firefighting, search and rescue, and other actions typical during the first hours of a community emergency. Media is invited to attend the graduation exercise. A media pre-briefing will take place at the Fire Training Center at 5:45pm.
“The purpose of CERT is to provide training to individuals, members of neighborhood associations, and other groups so that in case of an emergency or natural disaster, they can provide immediate help to preserve life, property, and the environment until professional first responders can arrive,” said Pat Dugger, Director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management. “CERT members also become Preparedness Ambassadors, a group of volunteers who assist with community emergency management programs and exercises.”
CERT classes began in 2004; since then, the Division of Emergency Management has organized 35 groups. As a result, more than 400 people have completed the coursework.
The nine FREE training classes are three hours long. Instruction includes classes in disaster preparedness, fire safety and suppression, disaster medical operations/first aid, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, radio operations, team organization, terrorism incident, and accident response. The last class is an actual disaster exercise. The classes are on Wednesdays from 6 pm to 9 pm. Applicants for the CERT program must be 18 years of age, reside or work in Fayette County and submit to a background check.
Depending on class content, classes are taught by members of the Lexington Fire Department, University of Kentucky Medical Center doctors, or Emergency Management staff. Upon graduation, CERT members receive a backpack filled with preparedness supplies.
The next CERT class will take place next fall. Pre-registration for the CERT class is required, and class size is limited. Please contact CERT coordinator Shelley Bendall at (859) 280-8063 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for registration forms and materials. A more detailed description of the CERT program is available on the government website at: http://bereadylexington.com/cert/.
Residents can access Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government information by calling LexCall, the city’s centralized service and information contact center. Most telephones can connect to LexCall by simply dialing 3-1-1. The regular number for LexCall is (859) 425-2255, answered Monday- Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. In addition, information about city programs and services is available via the government website at www.lexingtonky.gov. Citizens may also receive news and information from the city’s Twitter account – Lexkygov.
More information about emergency preparedness is available from the Division of Emergency Management website at: www.BeReadyLexington.com. Information about the division is also available through the Lexington Emergency Management Facebook page – @LexingtonKYEM and the agency’s Twitter and Instagram account: @Lexkyem.
Contact: John Bobel